WaterProofing and Repellency in Textiles | Free Online Course | Alison

The New Alison App has just launched Download Now

Waterproofing and Repellency in Textiles

Master the complex science behind making textiles waterproof and water repellent in this free online course.

Free Course
Do you know the difference between a fabric being ‘waterproof’ and ‘water repellent’? In this free online course on textile finishing, you will learn the theory of and difference between waterproof and water-repellent fabrics, and gain clarity on the chemistry of coating materials. Study how to evaluate water-repellent fabrics and ‘breathable’ textiles. This course is useful for those in fashion, fabrication or even furniture and interior design.
  • Duration

    3-4 Hours
  • Certification

  • Mobile Friendly

  • Publisher

  • Accreditation






View course modules


You kick off with the basics of waterproofing and water repellency. In the first module, this free course describes the theory behind, and the difference between them with respect to the permeability of water and air. For waterproofing, the material explains the chemistry of some coating materials such as elastomers, natural and synthetic rubber, polyurethane and polymers. In chemistry, ‘polymers’ are substances that are made of long chains of molecules and an ‘elastomer’ is a polymer with both viscous and elastic properties. Many of the substances around us are made of elastomers, for example, car tyres and the runner storage boxes in household closets. For water repellency, the course sets forth the concepts of ‘wetting’, the Young Dupre equation and polarity. Wetting, spreading and adhesion phenomena are often described in terms of contact angles of liquids on a given surface. The Young Dupre equation establishes a relationship between these angles to explain wetting.

In the next module, the course focuses on water repellents like paraffin waxes and silicon, and waterproof breathable textiles and laminates. It gives a detailed explanation of their applications and evaluations while highlighting the theory of hydrophobicity and fibrillation. ‘Hydrophobicity’ is the property of repelling water rather than absorbing it or dissolving in it while ‘fibrillation’ deals with the formation and visibility of fibres. You will also learn about the differential boiling point and wet coagulation. Understand the rough benchmarks of waterproofing, the importance of RET value (resistance to evaporating heat transfer value) and the characteristics of waterproof breathable textiles.

Fabrics that are used to make raincoats, umbrellas and tarpaulins are treated with chemicals to give them the property of water resistance in a finish that is called waterproofing. Water repellency refers to a different characteristic. In this course, you will gain practical understanding of this aspect of textile finishing, which will aspect you if you are designing fabrics, homeware or fabrics that will be used outside in the elements.

Start Course Now

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the difference between waterproofing and water repellency
  • Explain the chemistry of some coating materials
  • List application and evaluation methods for waterproofing
  • Discuss the theory of water repellency
  • Appraise the relevance of the Young-Dupre equation in repellency
  • Explain cohesion and adhesion
  • Define the chemistry of water repellents
  • Describe silicon water repellents
  • Explain the evaluation of water repellency by contact angle measurement, spray test and Bundesmann test
  • Outline the rough benchmarks of waterproofing
  • List the characteristics of waterproof breathable textiles
  • Recall the evaluation of breathability of fabrics by the cup method and the sweating guarded hot plate method


All Alison courses are free to enrol, study and complete. To successfully complete this Certificate course and become an Alison Graduate, you need to achieve 80% or higher in each course assessment. Once you have completed this Certificate course, you have the option to acquire an official Certificate, which is a great way to share your achievement with the world. Your Alison Certificate is:

Ideal for sharing with potential employers - include it in your CV, professional social media profiles and job applications
An indication of your commitment to continuously learn, upskill and achieve high results
An incentive for you to continue empowering yourself through lifelong learning

Alison offers 3 types of Certificates for completed Certificate courses:

Digital Certificate - a downloadable Certificate in PDF format, immediately available to you when you complete your purchase
Certificate - a physical version of your officially branded and security-marked Certificate, posted to you with FREE shipping
Framed Certificate - a physical version of your officially branded and security-marked Certificate in a stylish frame, posted to you with FREE shipping

All Certificates are available to purchase through the Alison Shop. For more information on purchasing Alison Certificates, please visit our FAQs. If you decide not to purchase your Alison Certificate, you can still demonstrate your achievement by sharing your Learner Record or Learner Achievement Verification, both of which are accessible from your Dashboard. For more details on our Certificate pricing, please visit our Pricing Page.


    You have received a new notification
    Click here to view them all